Acts 15 Acts 15:1 - And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. Judiasers were a form of Jewish persecution of the church, choosing to corrupt the church rather than physically persecute Christians. We see them represented heavily in Revelation 2-3. Acts 15:12-17 - 12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. '13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: '14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. '15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, '16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: '''''17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Prophetic words regarding the tabernacle/household of David, which is the Temple of the New Testament, the church. Acts is a record of building that tabernacle. Acts 16 Acts 16:16-24 - 16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: '17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. '18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. '19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, '20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, '21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. '22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. '23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: '24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. I record this only to be impartial in my presentation. This is the first recorded time the Romans act against Christians. However, Rome had specific laws, which Paul knew and appealed to, and it generally got him out of trouble until Nero came along. Acts 17 Acts 17:1-9 - 1 'Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: '2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, '3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. '4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. '5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. '6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; '7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. '8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. '9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. Jews persecuting Christians again. Acts 17:10-13 - 10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. '11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. '12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. '13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. Jews persecuting Christians again. Acts 17:22-31 - 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. '23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, 'To The Unknown God'. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. '24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; '25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; '26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; '27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: '28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. '29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. '30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: '31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. On Mars' hill, preaching to the Gentile philosophers, Paul speaks of coming judgment. He says that all men everywhere should repent because Christ would judge the world. Again, God will be Judge in the final day, but Christ was coming back to judge the nations (Matt. 25) Acts 18 Acts 18:12-17 - 12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, '13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. '14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: '15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. '16 And he drave them from the judgment seat. '17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things. Again the Jews persecute Paul, but this time, the Romans actually side with Paul and punish the Jews for being troublemakers. Acts 19 Acts 19:23-41 - 23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. '24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; '25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. '26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: '27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. '28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. '29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. '30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. '31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. '32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused: and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. '33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. '34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. '35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? '36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. '37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. '38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. '''''39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. '''''40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. '''''41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly. This is now the second time the Romans have taken issue with Paul's actions. However, the Jews are here to antagonize as well, but when the Jews put Alexander forward, all it ends up doing is diffusing the Roman crowd...again because of the rule of law that Rome is still under. Rome = bound by law and does not persecute, though upsetJews = vicious troublemakers for Christians wherever they go Acts 20 Acts 20:1-3 - 1' 'And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. '2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, '3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. Jews persecuting Paul again. Acts 20:17-19 - 17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. '18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, '19 Serving the '''''Lord''''' with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: The Jews were Paul's thorn in the side, not the Romans, which would have been more important to the elders at Ephesus. Acts 21 Acts 21:1-4 - 1' 'And it came to pass, that after we were gotten from them, and had launched, we came with a straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and from thence unto Patara: '2 And finding a ship sailing over unto Phenicia, we went aboard, and set forth. '3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden. '4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit is not telling Paul not to go. These Christians were told by the Holy Spirit what Paul would suffer in Jerusalem...at the hand of the Jews. Therefore they did not want him to go. Acts 21:8-14 - 8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. '9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. '10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. '11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. '12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. '13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. '14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. The Jews are the ultimate source of Paul's persecution here. It's actually a good thing that they deliver him to the Romans. Otherwise they would have killed him. All the Romans do is put him under house arrest, where he teaches a lot of people and eventually is freed. Acts 21:27-40 - 27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, '28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. '29 (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) '30 And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. '31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. '''''32 Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. '''''33 Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. '34 And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. '35 And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. '36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him. '37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek? '38 Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers? '39 But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people. '40 And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, So, the Jews again stir up and try to kill Paul. The Romans rush in and save him, protecting him from the mob even. When Paul identifies himself and asks to speak to the crowd, the Roman captain lets him. Romans = friendly/neutralJews = murderous, anti-law abiding, emotional persecutors of Christians In Truth and Love.